Sol Babe of the Month

Michelle Kienlen


Surfer, Water Woman, Inspiration, BABE

Michelle grew up on the very unexciting and mostly flat gulf coast of Florida and didn't even start surfing until she was in her teens, but she quickly progressed as her passion for surfing drove her to surf every opportunity she had, it led her down a new life path. Eager to progress and overcome the limitations of being a surfer on the gulf coast, she set out to explore different coasts & countries, doing whatever jobs she could find that would allow her to travel and surf.

This journey has led her to her current home in Bocas Del Toro, the perfect place for a barrel loving goofy footer. She is a newly wed, living with her husband, in the house that they recently built together, getting ready to welcome a new little babe into their lives.

Currently running retreats between her backyard & the Galapagos Islands, she has made it her life mission to share her passion with other women, empowering them to push through their fears & progress in their surfing to become the bad ass babe they always knew awaited them.

Why We love Michelle

Brave & BeautifulInspiring & Empowering

Michelle was first sponsored as a teenager by Pete Lopez, father to professional surfers Cory & Shea Lopez, where he lead her from the waters of the gulf and introduced her to the east coast of Florida. This was the start of her adventures in surfing. From here, she did everything she could through college and beyond to make money to fuel her surfing travels & adventures.

When I first met Michelle, back in 2010, early in my surfing career and with two babies under two years of age in tow, I recall seeing her out in the lineup and feeling very intimidated by her, expecting her personality to match her surfing style - aggressive. She couldn't had been more opposite of that. She greeted me with a big, warm smile, and a friendly demeanor when I paddled out next to her. Getting to know Michelle more, and hearing stories of her travels truly ignited a spark in me. She would tell me of how she traveled by herself to Puerto Rico and other countries in Central America, and I was shocked at how she ventured off on her own, in "dangerous" countries. I had never known a woman in my life, up until that point, that was independent and, for lack of a better word, brave. There was a huge part of me that was ruled by fear. Afraid to even paddle out by myself. After meeting Michelle, I committed to a year of doing whatever it was that I felt afraid of, acknowledging the fear that was there, but moving through in spite of it. There's a lot of growth on the other side of that fear, a lot of growth that comes with forcing yourself to be in uncomfortable situations. I digress.

During Michelle's travels to Central America, she happened upon a pro surfer out in the lineup, named Holly Beck. Holly Beck runs all women's surf retreats, called Surf with Amigas. She invited Michelle to be an instructor for her retreats right there in the water. She must have felt the contagious stoke of Michelle - the warm smile, and the benevolent light heartedness of her spirit. Combine that with the fact that Michelle absolutely rips and sends it on every wave, and there you have your most perfect all women's surf coach. And so there begins Michelle's journey into all women's retreats, and a life in Central America.


Michelle has spent the last 10 years living in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. She loves the simplicity of island life and the community that surrounds her consisting of her husband, rescue dog, and many friends & families from a variety of different countries. She is truly found her community, and has found what most seek. Community & Connection. 



Michelle found a way to share her passion of surfing and making connections with like minded humans through the ocean by starting her own business in 2019 called Bocas Del Toro Surfing.

Currently hosting all inclusive surf trips in Panama and the Galápagos Islands with the help of her amazing team of surf instructors, nature guides, and boat captains. She runs all women's retreats as well as men & women, catering to all levels & abilities. When running retreats in her own backyard, she uses her local knowledge and boat to take surfers to various island locations, touring the land & waters and seeking the perfect empty barrels that Bocas has to offer. She also provides surf instruction through video recording the sessions and then coaching through the replays at the end of each day. She truly cares about each person she coaches, and wants to see them progress & excel in surfing, so they can have more fun & feel more confident out in the water.

In service of others, sharing her passion and love of surfing & her island home. There are many hearts and lives that Michelle has touched and transformed, mine being one of them.  

Be a witness and a part of this Sol Babe's journey. Join her next retreat to experience a unique and all encompassing surf trip where you're sure to expand & progress. You can find her retreats on instagram, @bocasdeltorosurfing she's currently in the Galapagos, sharing stories and posting about their epic days of surfing and exploring the unique nature of the island.

You can also follow her personal account @m33sh3ll where she shares her island life in Bocas Del Toro and where you can see her newest and most courageous journey she's yet to embark on...motherhood.

Click below to follow along.

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